Hansel and Gretel

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Hansel and Gretel
H and G 7046.jpg
Hansel and Gretel meet the Wicked Witch. Image by Arthur Rackham, 1909.
Written by: The Brothers Grimm
Central Theme: Abandonment of children by their parents, the triumph of youthful ingenuity over evil,
Synopsis: Two siblings are abandoned in a forest, and end imprisoned by a witch who intends to eat them; kids eventually defeat the witch by outsmarting her.
Genre(s): Folk tale
First published: 1812
More Information
Source: Read Hansel and Gretel here
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A Fairy Tale originally recorded by The Brothers Grimm in 1812. It's in the Public Domain, so here goes:

Once upon a time, there was a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel. Their father was a widower who had remarried, and the family was having hard times. The stepmother insists they abandon the children in the woods and their father is spineless enough to go along with it. Hansel overhears the plan and comes up with the idea of leaving a Trail of Bread Crumbs from the bread that was supposed to be their lunch, so they can come back; unfortunately, the birds eat all the crumbs, so by the time they decide to follow the trail home, there isn't one.

They wander around for a while, and then they find a Gingerbread House. They are very hungry, so they eat from it. The owner of the house, a Wicked Witch, calls out that she knows someone is eating her house; Hansel and Gretel don't reply. The third time, the witch goes out to meet them. She seems surprisingly friendly, and gives them a huge feast.

The next day, Hansel is in a fattening pen, and Gretel is a servant. It seems that the witch eats children, once they are properly prepared. There is a Happy Ending for Hansel and Gretel, of course... the witch asks Gretel to light the oven and Gretel pretends she can't. When the witch bends over to do it, Gretel kicks her into her own oven.

There are television versions of this tale, but few film versions for reasons that should be clear.

The 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdinck adapted the fairy tale into an Opera (premiered 1893). The opera in turn was adapted into a 1954 stop-motion animation film.

Garrison Keillor deconstructs this one, as well as "Snow White" and "Cinderella", in his short story "My Stepmother, Myself" in his book Happy To Be Here.

Tropes used in Hansel and Gretel include: